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Ken Adam (1921 - 2016)

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Ken Adam (1921 - 2016)

Ken Adam, legendary Bond film production designer, died in a London hospital after a short illness on Thursday, March 10, 2016 according to the BBC. He was 95.

Adam designed many of the most iconic sets in the series of James Bond films during the 1960s and 70s. He also designed the classic “War Room” set in “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964).

Although he personally didn’t appear on-screen, Adam’s sets were often a star attraction in many of Bond films he worked on. His spacious, futuristic lairs can be seen in “Dr. No” (1962), “Goldfinger” (1964), “Thunderball” (1965), “You Only Live Twice” (1967), “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971), “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977), and “Moonraker” (1979). His supertanker set for “The Spy Who Loved Me” was the largest ever constructed up to that point. Director Stanley Kubrick was secretly called in to help with lighting the cavernous stage.


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“Roger Moore once said about him that his life was a great deal more interesting than most of the films he designed,” Adam’s biographer Sir Christopher Frayling told the BBC.

Born in Berlin, Germany on February 5, 1921, Adam’s Jewish family moved to England in 1934 following the rise of the Nazi party. He studied architecture, then joined the RAF at the beginning of World War II. He was one of only three German-nationals to fly combat missions for the RAF during the war.

Following the end of the war Adam began to work in the film industry. His first major credit as a production designer was on the British horror film “Night of the Demon” (1957). As a production designer he oversaw design and building of sets and props, contributing greatly to the look of the film.

In addition to work on the Bond films, Adam also worked with director Stanley Kubrick on “Dr. Strangelove” and later “Barry Lyndon” (1975), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction. He won a second Oscar in the same category for “The Madness of King George” (1994). The last film he designed for was the German film “Taking Sides” in 2001.

For his work in film and contributions to Anglo-German relations, Adam was awarded a knighthood in 2003.

He is survived by his wife, Maria Letitzia.

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